West Ham preview

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It’s a new season and what’s more, it’s Hammer Time!

Judging from the opinions of fellow Spurs fans I’ve unofficially polled, there is optimism for the coming campaign, but it’s heavily tempered with realism. If these players come good, if this player stays fit, if we buy that player… I’m sure you’ve heard it all as well. ‘Top six’ is mentioned far far more often than ‘top four’.

Preseason went well of that there’s no doubt – undefeated, a few goals, no Berbatov/Modric type mumblings of discontent and only a couple of injuries, but it’s clear, admittedly only if you’re unwise enough to give credence to the Spurs related transfer rumours that abound, that Pochettino isn’t happy with the quality of the squad in certain areas – defence – or the balance of it in others – attack. Given then that we head into Saturday’s game with one of our better defenders (Walker) probably out and another of them (Vertonghen) well short of match practice as well as no movement on improving the left hand side up front, the manager may think that the first game of the season has come a little soon.

If asked about the state of Andy Carroll, Big Fat Sam would agree. The reports were that he (BFS) kept his job at the end of last season on the condition that the style of football changed. A bit odd really given Allardyce’s CV, surely you know what you’re getting when you employ him?

Enner Valencia is the most interesting of West Ham’s signings. He looked lively in the World Cup but, fortunately for us, is set to miss Saturday due to a lack of fitness. Given the absence of Carroll it’s hard to say who will be leading the line for them (youngster Elliot Lee played against Sampdoria at the weekend) but Mauro Zarate is a good skilful forward even though he has a history of stiff right arm reflexes he’d be wise to keep hidden. The Senegalese Kouyate is getting a good press; he’ll probably be in the centre of midfield.

Whoever plays for the home side, who will be facing them in a white shirt and trying to get that early goal we’d all like to see, is likely to be a decision keeping Poch awake at night. Assuming Vertonghen is fit enough to play, and without knowing what’s going on with the likes of Chadli, Dembèlè and Paulinho, my guess for the starting XI would be something like Lloris, Naughton, Davies, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Bentaleb, Capoue, Lennon, Lamela, Eriksen and Adebayor. It’s a guess though and Soldado, Holtby and Sandro should consider themselves unlucky if they’re not playing.

Not an eleven to strike fear into anyone’s hearts, not yet anyway, but it’s a new era. AVB promised evolution but we’re at a point where revolution is preferable. We’re expecting energy, pressing, energy, youth and energy. What will we get? Not long to go now.

Chris Foy is in charge. (Which is annoying).

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    • I wasn’t surprised to see WH fans come out from under their rocks in droves last year to create T shirts etc – after all, when was the last time you did the treble over us?! – but I’m surprised the optimism is still so high. You got lucky last year – you put in arguably two of your best performances of the season against a Spurs side who were a shambles all year and got lucky in the Cup. Trust me – normal service will resume this year and the six points will be staying at the Lane. With any luck, you’ll be relegated at the same time.


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